[The] Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World by [Captain & Doctor] Lemuel Gulliver, 1st a Surgeon and then a Captain of Several Ships (Gulliver's Travels)
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- Jonathan, Swift, Cousin, Sympson, Travels, Captain, Doctor, Lemuel, Gulliver, Remote, Nations, World, Surgeon, Ships, Alexander, Pope, Ode, Lilliput, Brobdingnag, Laputa, Balnibarbi, Luggnagg, Glubbdubdrib, Japan, Voyage, Country, Yahoo, Houyhnhnms, Gulliver's, Yahoos, Houyhnhnms, Charles, Ford, Benjamin, Motte, George, Faulkner, Lindalino, Ireland, Irish, Whig, Whigs, satire, Blefuscu, Richard, St., Saint, Patrick, Patrick's, Land, Dean, DD, Anglo, Dublin, Great, Britain, England, London, UK, United, Kingdom, Titty, Tit, Laureate, Poet, Mary, Wood, William, Burton
Lemuel Gulliver recounts the story of his life, beginning with his family history. He is born to a family in Nottinghamshire, the 3rd of 5 sons. Although he studies at Cambridge as a teenager, his family is too poor to keep him there so he is sent to London to be a surgeon’s apprentice. There, under a man named James Bates, he learns mathematics and navigation with the hope of travelling. When his apprenticeship ends, he studies physics at Leiden. He then becomes a surgeon aboard a ship called the Swallow for 3 years. Afterwards, he settles in London, working as a doctor and marries a woman named Mary Burton. His business begins to fail when his patron dies so he decides to go to sea again and travels for 6 years.
04 May 1699 - 13 April 1702
Although he has planned to return home at the end of this time, he decides to accept 1 last job on a ship called the Antelope. In the East Indies, the Antelope encounters a violent storm in which 12 crewmen die. 6 of the crew members including Gulliver, board a small rowboat to escape. Soon the rowboat capsizes and Gulliver loses track of his companions. They are never seen again. Gulliver however, swims safely to shore. Gulliver lies down on the grass to rest and soon he falls asleep. When he wakes up, he finds that his arms, legs, and long hair have been tied to the ground with pieces of thread. He can only look up, and the bright sun prevents him from seeing anything. He feels something move across his leg and over his chest. He looks down and sees a 6-inch-tall human carrying a bow and arrow to his surprise. At least 40 more little people climb onto his body. He is surprised and shouts loudly, frightening the little people away. They return however, and 1 of the little men cries out, Hekinah Degul. Gulliver struggles to get loose and finally succeeds in breaking the strings binding his left arm. He loosens the ropes tying his hair so he can turn to the left. In response, the little people fire a volley of arrows into his hand and violently attack his body and face. He decides that the safest thing to do is to lie still until nightfall. The noise increases as the little people build a stage next to Gulliver about a foot and a half off the ground. 1 of them climbs onto it and makes a speech in a language that Gulliver does not understand. Gulliver indicates that he is hungry, and the little people bring him baskets of meat. He devours it all and then shows that he is thirsty, so they bring him two large barrels of wine. Gulliver is tempted to pick up forty or fifty of the little people and throw them against the ground, but he decides that he has made them a promise of goodwill and is grateful for their hospitality. He is also struck by their bravery, since they climb onto his body despite his great size. An official climbs onto Gulliver’s body and tells him that he is to be carried to the capital city. Gulliver wants to walk, but they tell him that that will not be permitted. Instead, they bring a frame of wood raised 3 inches off the ground and carried by twenty-two wheels. Nine hundred men pull this cart about half a mile to the city. Gulliver’s left leg is then padlocked to a large temple, giving him only enough freedom to walk around the building in a semicircle and lie down inside the temple. Once the Lilliputians chain Gulliver to the building, he is finally allowed to stand up and view the entire countryside that he discovers is beautiful and rustic. The tallest trees are seven feet tall, and the whole area looks to him like a theatre set. Gulliver meticulously describes his process of relieving himself that initially involves walking inside the building to the edge of his chain. After the first time, he makes sure to relieve himself in open air, and servants carry away his excrement in wheelbarrows. He says that he describes this process in order to establish his cleanliness that has been called into question by his critics. The emperor visits on horseback from his tower. He orders his servants to give Gulliver food and drink. The emperor is dressed plainly and carries a sword to defend himself. He and Gulliver converse, though they cannot understand each other. Gulliver tries to speak every language he knows but nothing works. After two hours, Gulliver is left with a group of soldiers guarding him. Some of them, disobeying orders, try to shoot arrows at him. As a punishment, the brigadier ties up six of these offenders and places them in Gulliver’s hand. Gulliver puts five of them into his pocket and pretends that he is going to eat the sixth, but then cuts loose his ropes and sets him free. He does the same with the other 5 that pleases the court. After 2 weeks, a bed is made for Gulliver. It consists of 600 small beds sewn together. News of his arrival also spreads throughout the kingdom and curious people from the villages come to see him. Meanwhile, the government tries to decide what to do with him. Frequent councils bring up various concerns: that he will break loose, for instance, or that he will eat enough to cause a famine. Some suggest that they starve him or shoot him in the face to kill him, but others argue that doing so would leave them with a giant corpse and a large health risk. Officers who witnessed Gulliver’s lenient treatment of the six offending soldiers report to the council, and the emperor and his court decide to respond with kindness. They arrange to deliver large amounts of food to Gulliver every morning, supply him with servants to wait on him, hire tailors to make him clothing and offer teachers to instruct him in their language. Every morning Gulliver asks the emperor to set him free, but the emperor refuses, saying that Gulliver must be patient. The emperor also orders him to be searched to ensure that he does not have any weapons. Gulliver agrees to this search, and the Lilliputians take an inventory of his possessions. In the process, all of his weapons are taken away. Gulliver hopes to be set free, as he is getting along well with the Lilliputians and earning their trust. The emperor decides to entertain him with shows, including a performance by Rope-Dancers, who are Lilliputians seeking employment in the government. For the performance that doubles as a sort of competitive entrance examination, the candidates dance on ropes—slender threads suspended two feet above the ground. When a vacancy occurs, candidates petition the emperor to entertain him with a dance, and whoever jumps the highest earns the office. The current ministers continue this practice as well, in order to show that they have not lost their skill. As another diversion for Gulliver, the emperor lays 3 silken threads of different colours on a table. He then holds out a stick, and candidates are asked to leap over it or creep under it. Whoever shows the most dexterity wins one of the ribbons. Gulliver builds a platform from sticks and his handkerchief and invites horsemen to exercise upon it. The emperor greatly enjoys watching this new entertainment, but it is cut short when a horse steps through the handkerchief, after which Gulliver decides that it is too dangerous for them to keep riding on the cloth. Some Lilliputians discover Gulliver’s hat that washed ashore after him, and he asks them to bring it back. Soon after, the emperor asks Gulliver to pose like a colossus, or giant statue, so that his troops might march under Gulliver. Gulliver’s petitions for freedom are finally answered. Gulliver must swear to obey the articles put forth that include stipulations that he must assist the Lilliputians in times of war, survey the land around them, help with construction, and deliver urgent messages. Gulliver agrees and his chains are removed. After regaining his freedom, Gulliver goes to Mildendo, the capital city of the Lilliputians. The residents are told to stay indoors, and they all sit on their roofs and in their garret windows to see him. The town is 500 feet square with a wall surrounding it, and can hold 500000 people. The emperor wants Gulliver to see the magnificence of his palace that is at the centre of the city, so Gulliver cuts down trees to make himself a stool that he carries around with him so that he can sit down and see things from a shorter distance than a standing position allows. About two weeks after Gulliver obtains his liberty, a government official, Reldresal, comes to see him. He tells Gulliver that two forces, one rebel group and one foreign empire, threaten the kingdom. The rebel group exists because the kingdom is divided into 2 factions called Tramecksan and Slamecksan. The people in the two factions are distinguished by the heights of their heels. Reldresal tells Gulliver that the current emperor has chosen to employ primarily the low-heeled Slamecksan in his administration. He adds that the emperor himself has lower heels than all of his officials but that his heir has one heel higher than the other that makes him walk unevenly. At the same time, the Lilliputians fear an invasion from the Island of Blefuscu that Reldresal calls the Other Great Empire of the Universe. He adds that the philosophers of Lilliput do not believe Gulliver’s claim that there are other countries in the world inhabited by other people of his size, preferring to think that Gulliver dropped from the moon or a star. Reldresal describes the history of the two nations. The conflict between them, he tells Gulliver, began years ago, when the emperor’s grandfather, then in command of the country, commanded all Lilliputians to break their eggs on the small end first. He made this decision after breaking an egg in the old way, large end first, and cutting his finger. The people resented the law, and six rebellions were started in protest. The monarchs of Blefuscu fuelled these rebellions, and when they were over the rebels fled to that country to seek refuge. Eleven thousand people chose death rather than submit to the law. Many books were written on the controversy, but books written by the Big-Endians were banned in Lilliput. The government of Blefuscu accused the Lilliputians of disobeying their religious doctrine, the Brundrecral, by breaking their eggs at the small end. The Lilliputians argued that the doctrine reads that All true believers shall break their eggs at the convenient end. That could be interpreted as the small end. Reldresal continues that the exiles gained support in Blefuscu to launch a war against Lilliput and were aided by rebel forces inside Lilliput. A war has been raging between the two nations ever since, and Gulliver is asked to help defend Lilliput against its enemies. Gulliver does not feel that it is appropriate to intervene, but he nonetheless offers his services to the emperor. Gulliver spies on the empire of Blefuscu and devises a plan. He asks for cables and bars of iron, out of which he makes hooks with cables attached. He then wades and swims the channel to Blefuscu and catches their ships at port. The people are so frightened that they leap out of their ships and swim to shore. Gulliver attaches a hook to each ship and ties them together. The Blefuscu soldiers fire arrows at him, but he keeps working, protecting his eyes by putting on the spectacles he keeps in his coat pocket. He tries to pull the ships away, but they are anchored too tightly, so he cuts them away with his pocketknife and pulls the ships back to Lilliput. In Lilliput, Gulliver is greeted as a hero. The emperor asks him to go back to retrieve the other ships, intending to destroy Blefuscu’s military strength and make it a province in his empire. Gulliver dissuades him from this action, saying that he does not want to encourage slavery or injustice. This position causes great disagreement in the government, with some officials turning staunchly against Gulliver and calling for his destruction. Three weeks later, a delegation arrives from Blefuscu, and the war ends with Blefuscu’s surrender. The Blefuscu delegates are privately told of Gulliver’s kindness toward the Lilliputians, and they ask him to visit their kingdom. He wishes to do so, and the emperor reluctantly allows it. As a Nardac or person of high rank, Gulliver no longer has to perform all the duties laid down in his contract. He does, however, have the opportunity to help the Lilliputians when the emperor’s wife’s room catches fire. He forgets his coat and cannot put the flames out with his clothing, so instead he thinks of a new plan: he urinates on the palace, putting out the fire entirely. He worries afterwards that since the act of public urination is a crime in Lilliput he will be prosecuted, but the emperor tells him he will be pardoned. He is told, however, that the emperor’s wife can no longer tolerate living in her rescued quarters. Gulliver describes the general customs and practices of Lilliput in more detail, beginning by explaining that everything in Lilliput— their animals, trees, and plants—is sized in proportion to the Lilliputians. Their eyesight is also adapted to their scale: Gulliver cannot see as clearly close-up as they can, while they cannot see as far as he can. The Lilliputians are well educated, but their writing system is odd to Gulliver, who jokes that they write not left to right like the Europeans or top to bottom like the Chinese, but from one corner of the page to the other like the ladies in England. The dead are buried with their heads pointing directly downward, because the Lilliputians believe that eventually the dead will rise again and that the Earth that they think is flat, will turn upside down. Gulliver adds that the better-educated Lilliputians no longer believe in this custom. Gulliver describes some of the other laws of Lilliput, such as a tradition by which anyone who falsely accuses someone else of a crime against the state is put to death. Deceit is considered worse than theft, because honest people are more vulnerable to liars than to thieves, since commerce requires people to trust one another. The law provides not only for punishment but also for rewards of special titles and privileges for good behaviour. Children are raised not by individual parents but by the kingdom as a whole. They are sent to live in schools at a very young age. The schools are chosen according to the station of their parents whom they see only twice a year. Only the labourers’ children stay home, since their job is to farm. There are no beggars at all, since the poor are well looked after. Gulliver goes on to describe the intrigue that precipitates his departure from Lilliput. While he prepares to make his trip to Blefuscu, a court official tells Gulliver that he has been charged with treason by enemies in the government. He shows Gulliver the document calling for his execution: Gulliver is charged with public urination, refusing to obey the emperor’s orders to seize the remaining Blefuscu ships, aiding enemy ambassadors, and travelling to Blefuscu. Gulliver is told that Reldresal has asked for his sentence to be reduced, calling not for execution but for putting his eyes out. This punishment has been agreed upon, along with a plan to starve him to death slowly. The official tells Gulliver that the operation to blind him will take place in three days. Fearing this resolution, Gulliver crosses the channel and arrives in Blefuscu. 3 days later, he sees a boat of normal size—that is, big enough to carry him—overturned in the water. He asks the emperor of Blefuscu to help him fix it. At the same time, the emperor of Lilliput sends an envoy with the articles commanding Gulliver to give up his eyesight. The emperor of Blefuscu sends it back with the message that Gulliver will soon be leaving both their kingdoms. After about a month, the boat is ready and Gulliver sets sail. He arrives safely back in England, where he makes a good profit showing miniature farm animals that he carried away from Blefuscu in his pockets.
20 June 1702 - 03 June 1706
2 months after returning to England, Gulliver is restless again. He sets sail on a ship called the Adventure, travelling to the Cape of Good Hope and Madagascar before encountering a monsoon that draws the ship off course. The ship eventually arrives at an unknown land mass. There are no inhabitants about, and the landscape is barren and rocky. Gulliver is walking back to the boat when he sees that it has already left without him. He tries to chase after it, but then he sees that a giant is following the boat. Gulliver runs away, and when he stops, he is on a steep hill from which he can see the countryside. He is shocked to see that the grass is about twenty feet high. He walks down what looks like a high road but turns out to be a footpath through a field of barley. He walks for a long time but cannot see anything beyond the stalks of corn that are 40 feet high. He tries to climb a set of steps into the next field, but he cannot mount them because they are too high. As he is trying to climb up the stairs, he sees another one of the island’s giant inhabitants. He hides from the giant, but it calls for more people to come, and they begin to harvest the crop with scythes. Gulliver lies down and bemoans his state, thinking about how insignificant he must be to these giant creatures. 1 of the servants comes close to Gulliver with both his foot and his scythe, so Gulliver screams as loudly as he can. The giant finally notices him, and picks him up between his fingers to get a closer look. Gulliver tries to speak to him in plaintive tones, bringing his hands together, and the giant seems pleased. Gulliver makes it clear that the giant’s fingers are hurting him, and the giant places him in his pocket and begins to walk toward his master. The giant’s master, the farmer of these fields, takes Gulliver from his servant and observes him more closely. He asks the other servants if they have ever seen anything like Gulliver, then places him onto the ground. They sit around him in a circle. Gulliver kneels down and begins to speak as loudly as he can, taking off his hat and bowing to the farmer. He presents a purse full of gold to the farmer that the farmer takes into his palm. He cannot figure out what it is, even after Gulliver empties the coins into his hand. The farmer takes Gulliver back to his wife, who is frightened of him. The servant brings in dinner, and they all sit down to eat, Gulliver sitting on the table not far from the farmer’s plate. They give him tiny bits of their food, and he pulls out his knife and fork to eat that delights the giants. The farmer’s son picks Gulliver up and scares him, but the farmer takes Gulliver from the boy’s hands and strikes his son. Gulliver makes a sign that the boy should be forgiven, and kisses his hand. After dinner, the farmer’s wife lets Gulliver nap in her own bed. When he wakes up he finds two rats attacking him, and he defends himself with his hanger or sword. The farmer’s 9-year-old daughter, whom Gulliver calls Glumdalclitch, or nursemaid, has a doll’s cradle that becomes Gulliver’s permanent bed. Glumdalclitch places the cradle inside a drawer to keep Gulliver safe from the rats. She becomes Gulliver’s caretaker and guardian, sewing clothes for him and teaching him the giants’ language.. The farmer begins to talk about Gulliver in town, and a friend of the farmer’s comes to see him. He looks at Gulliver through his glasses, and Gulliver begins to laugh at the sight of the man’s eyes through the glass. The man becomes angry and advises the farmer to take Gulliver into the market to display him. He agrees, and Gulliver is taken to town in a carriage that he finds very uncomfortable. There, he is placed on a table while Glumdalclitch sits down on a stool beside him, with thirty people at a time walking through as he performs tricks. Gulliver is exhausted by the journey to the marketplace, but upon returning to the farmer’s house, he finds that he is to be shown there as well. People come from miles around and are charged great sums to view him. Thinking that Gulliver can make him a great fortune, the farmer takes him and Glumdalclitch on a trip to the largest cities. The 3 arrive in the largest city, Lorbrulgrud, and the farmer rents a room with a table for displaying Gulliver. By now, Gulliver can understand their language and speak it fairly well. He is shown ten times a day and pleases the visitors greatly. The strain of travelling and performing tricks takes its toll on Gulliver, and he begins to grow very thin. The farmer notices Gulliver’s condition and resolves to make as much money as possible before Gulliver dies. Meanwhile, an order comes from the court, commanding the farmer to bring Gulliver to the queen for her entertainment. The queen is delighted with Gulliver’s behaviour and buys him from the farmer for 1000 gold pieces. Gulliver requests that Glumdalclitch be allowed to live in the palace as well. Gulliver explains his suffering to the queen, and she is impressed by his intelligence. She takes him to the king, who at first thinks he is a mechanical creation. He sends for great scholars to observe Gulliver, and they decide that he is unfit for survival, since there is no way he could feed himself. Gulliver tries to explain that he comes from a country in which everything is in proportion to himself, but they do not seem to believe him. Glumdalclitch is given an apartment in the palace and a governess to teach her, and special quarters are built for Gulliver out of a box. They also have clothes made for him from fine silk, but Gulliver finds them very cumbersome. The queen grows quite accustomed to his company, finding him very entertaining at dinner, especially when he cuts and eats his meat. He finds her way of eating repulsive, since her size allows her to swallow huge amounts of food in a single gulp. The king converses with Gulliver on issues of politics, and laughs at his descriptions of the goings-on in Europe. He finds it amusing that people of such small stature should think themselves so important, and Gulliver is at first offended. He then comes to realise that he too has begun to think of his world as ridiculous. The queen’s dwarf is not happy with Gulliver, since he is used to being the smallest person in the palace and a source of diversion for the royal court. He drops Gulliver into a bowl of cream, but Gulliver is able to swim to safety and the dwarf is punished. At another point, the dwarf sticks Gulliver into a bone marrow where he is forced to remain until someone pulls him out. Gulliver describes the geography of Brobdingnag, noting first that since the land stretches out about 6,000 miles there must be a severe error in European maps. The kingdom is bounded on one side by mountains and on the other three sides by the sea. The water is so rough that there is no trade with other nations. The rivers are well stocked with giant fish, but the fish in the sea are of the same size as those in the rest of the world—and therefore not worth catching. Gulliver is carried around the city in a special travelling-box, and people always crowd around to see him. He asks to see the largest temple in the country and is not overwhelmed by its size, since at a height of 3000 feet it is proportionally smaller than the largest steeple in England. Gulliver is happy in Brobdingnag except for the many mishaps that befall him because of his diminutive size. In one unpleasant incident, the dwarf, angry at Gulliver for teasing him, shakes an apple tree over his head. One of the apples strikes Gulliver in the back and knocks him over. Another time, he is left outside during a hailstorm and is so bruised and battered that he cannot leave the house for ten days. Gulliver and his nursemaid are often invited to the apartments of the ladies of the court, and there he is treated as a plaything of little significance. They enjoy stripping his clothes and placing him in their bosoms, and he is appalled by their strong smell, noting that a Lilliputian told him that he smelled quite repulsive to them. The women also strip their own clothes in front of him, and he finds their skin extremely ugly and uneven. The queen orders a special boat to be built for Gulliver. The boat is placed in a cistern, and Gulliver rows in it for his own enjoyment and for the amusement of the queen and her court. Yet another danger arises in the form of a monkey that takes Gulliver up a ladder, holding him like a baby and force-feeding him. He is rescued from the monkey, and Glumdalclitch pries the food from his mouth with a needle, after which Gulliver vomits. He is so weak and bruised that he stays in bed for two weeks. The monkey is killed and orders are sent out that no other monkeys be kept in the palace. Gulliver makes himself a comb from the stumps of hair left after the king has been shaved. He also collects hairs from the king and uses them to weave the backs of 2 small chairs that he gives to the queen as curiosities. Gulliver is brought to a musical performance, but it is so loud that he can hardly make it out. Gulliver decides to play the spinet for the royal family, but must contrive a novel way to do it, since the instrument is so big. He uses large sticks and runs over the keyboard with them, but he can still strike only sixteen keys. Thinking that the king has unjustly come to regard England as insignificant and laughable, Gulliver tries to tell him more about England, describing the government and culture there. The king asks many questions and is particularly struck by the violence of the history Gulliver describes. He then takes Gulliver into his hand and, explaining that he finds the world that Gulliver describes to be ridiculous, contemptuous, and strange, tells him that he concludes that most Englishmen sound like odious Vermin. Gulliver is disturbed by the king’s evaluation of England. He tries to tell him about gunpowder, describing it as a great invention and offering it to the king as a gesture of friendship. The king is appalled by the proposal, and Gulliver is taken aback, thinking that the king has refused a great opportunity. He thinks that the king is unnecessarily scrupulous and narrow-minded for not being more open to the inventions of Gulliver’s world. Gulliver finds the people of Brobdingnag in general to be ignorant and poorly educated. Their laws are not allowed to exceed in words the number of letters in their alphabet, and no arguments may be written about them. They know the art of printing but do not have many books, and their writing is simple and straightforward. One text describes the insignificance and weakness of Brobdingnagians and even argues that at one point they must have been much larger. Gulliver wants to recover his freedom. The king orders any small ship to be brought to the city, hoping that they might find a woman with whom Gulliver can propagate. Gulliver fears that any offspring thus produced would be kept in cages or given to the nobility as pets. He has been in Brobdingnag for two years and wants to be among his own kind again. Gulliver is taken to the south coast, and both Glumdalclitch and Gulliver fall ill. Gulliver says that he wants fresh air, and a page carries him out to the shore in his travelling-box. He asks to be left to sleep in his hammock, and the boy wanders off. An eagle grabs hold of Gulliver’s box and flies off with him, and then suddenly Gulliver feels himself falling and lands in the water. He worries that he will drown or starve to death, but then feels the box being pulled. He hears a voice telling him that his box is tied to a ship and that a carpenter will come to drill a hole in the top. Gulliver says that they can simply use a finger to pry it open, and he hears laughter. He realises that he is speaking to people of his own height and climbs a ladder out of his box and onto their ship. Gulliver begins to recover on the ship, and he tries to tell the sailors the story of his recent journey. He shows them things he saved from Brobdingnag, like his comb and a tooth pulled from a footman. He has trouble adjusting to the sailors’ small size, and he finds himself shouting all the time. When he reaches home, it takes him some time to grow accustomed to his old life, and his wife asks him to never go to sea again.
05 August 1706 – 16 April 1710
Gulliver has been home in England only ten days when a visitor comes to his house, asking him to sail aboard his ship in two months’ time. Gulliver agrees and prepares to set out for the East Indies. On the voyage, pirates attack the ship. Gulliver hears a Dutch voice among them and speaks to the pirate in Dutch, begging to be set free since he and the pirate are both Christians. A Japanese pirate tells them they will not die and Gulliver tells the Dutchman that he is surprised to find more mercy in a heathen than in a Christian. The Dutchman grows angry and punishes Gulliver by sending him out to sea in a small boat with only four days’ worth of food. Gulliver finds some islands and goes ashore on one of them. He sets up camp but then notices something strange: the sun is mysteriously obscured for some time. He then sees a landmass dropping down from the sky and notices that it is crawling with people. He is baffled by this floating island and shouts up to its inhabitants. They lower the island and send down a chain by which he is drawn up. Gulliver is immediately surrounded by people and notices that they are all quite odd. Their heads are all tilted to one side or the other with one eye turned inward and the other looking up. Their clothes are adorned with images of celestial bodies and musical instruments. Some of the people are servants and each of them carries a flapper made of a stick with a pouch tied to the end. Their job is to aid conversation by striking the ear of the listener and the mouth of the speaker at the appropriate times to prevent their masters’ minds from wandering off. Gulliver is conveyed to the king, who sits behind a table loaded with mathematical instruments. They wait an hour before there is some opportunity to arouse the king from his thoughts, at which point he is struck with the flapper. The king says something, and Gulliver’s ear is struck with the flapper as well, even though he tries to explain that he does not require such actions. It becomes clear that he and the king cannot speak any of the same languages, so Gulliver is taken to an apartment and served dinner. A teacher is sent to instruct Gulliver in the language of the island, and he is able to learn several sentences. He discovers that the name of the island is Laputa that in their language means floating island. A tailor is also sent to provide him with new clothes, and while he is waiting for these clothes, the king orders the island to be moved. It is taken to a point above the capital city of the kingdom, Lagado, passing villages along the way and collecting petitions from the king’s subjects by means of ropes sent down to the lands below. The language of the Laputans relies heavily on mathematical and musical concepts, as they value these theoretical disciplines above everything. The Laputans despise practical geometry, thinking it vulgar—so much so that they make sure that there are no right angles in their buildings. They are very good with charts and figures but very clumsy in practical matters. They practice astrology and dread changes in the celestial bodies. The island is exactly circular and consists of 10000 acres of land. At the centre, there is a cave for astronomers, containing all their instruments and a lodestone 6 yards long. It moves the island with its magnetic force, since it has two charges that can be reversed by means of an attached control. The mineral that acts upon the magnet is large enough to allow it to move only over the country directly beneath it. When the king wants to punish a particular region of the country, he can keep the island above it, depriving the lands below of sun and rain. Such measures failed to work in one town, where the rebellious inhabitants had stored provisions of food in advance. They planned to force the island to come so low that it would be trapped forever and to kill the king and his officials in order to take over the government. Instead, the king ordered the island to stop descending and gave in to the town’s demands. The king is not allowed to leave the floating island, nor is his family. Gulliver feels neglected on Laputa since the inhabitants seem interested only in mathematics and music and are far superior to him in their knowledge. He is bored by their conversation and wants to leave. There is one lord of the court whom Gulliver finds to be intelligent and curious, but who is regarded by the other inhabitants of Laputa as stupid because he has no ear for music. Gulliver asks this lord to petition the king to let him leave the island. The petition succeeds and he is let down on the mountains above Lagado.
He visits another lord, named Munodi, and is invited to stay at his home. Gulliver and Munodi visit a nearby town that Gulliver finds to be populated by poorly-dressed inhabitants living in shabby houses. The soil is badly cultivated and the people appear miserable. They then travel to Munodi’s country house, first passing many barren fields but then arriving in a lush green area that Munodi says belongs to his estate. He says that the other lords criticise him heavily for the mismanagement of his land. Munodi explains that forty years ago some people went to Laputa and returned with new ideas about mathematics and art. They decided to establish an academy in Lagado to develop new theories on agriculture and construction and to initiate projects to improve the lives of the city’s inhabitants. However, the theories have never produced any results and the new techniques have left the country in ruin. He encourages Gulliver to visit the academy that Gulliver is glad to do since he was once intrigued by projects of this sort himself. Gulliver visits the academy, where he meets a man engaged in a project to extract sunbeams from cucumbers. He also meets a scientist trying to turn excrement back into food. Another is attempting to turn ice into gunpowder and is writing a treatise about the malleability of fire, hoping to have it published. An architect is designing a way to build houses from the roof down, and a blind master is teaching his blind apprentices to mix colours for painters according to smell and touch. An agronomist is designing a method of ploughing fields with hogs by first burying food in the ground and then letting the hogs loose to dig it out. A doctor in another room tries to cure patients by blowing air through them. Gulliver leaves him trying to revive a dog that he has killed by supposedly curing it in this way. On the other side of the academy there are people engaged in speculative learning. One professor has a class full of boys working from a machine that produces random sets of words. Using this machine, the teacher claims, anyone can write a book on philosophy or politics. A linguist in another room is attempting to remove all the elements of language except nouns. Such pruning, he claims, would make language more concise and prolong lives, since every word spoken is detrimental to the human body. Since nouns are only things, furthermore, it would be even easier to carry things and never speak at all. Another professor tries to teach mathematics by having his students eat wafers that have mathematical proofs written on them. Gulliver then visits professors who are studying issues of government. One claims that women should be taxed according to their beauty and skill at dressing, and another claims that conspiracies against the government could be discovered by studying the excrement of subjects. Gulliver grows tired of the academy and begins to yearn for a return to England.
Gulliver tries to travel to Luggnagg, but he finds no ship available. Since he has to wait a month, he is advised to take a trip to Glubbdubdrib, the island of magicians. Gulliver visits the governor of Glubbdubdrib, and he finds that servants who appear and disappear like spirits attend the governor. The governor tells Gulliver that he has the power to call up any shade he would like. Gulliver chooses Alexander the Great, who assures him that he died not from poison but from excessive drinking. He then sees the Carthaginian general Hannibal and the Roman leaders Caesar, Pompey, and Brutus. Gulliver sets apart one day to speak with the most venerated people in history, starting with Homer and Aristotle. He asks the French philosophers René Descartes and Pierre Gassendi to describe their systems to Aristotle who freely acknowledges his own mistakes while pointing out that systems of nature will always vary from age to age.
Gulliver then returns to Luggnagg, where he is confined despite his desire to return to England. He is ordered to appear at the king’s court and is given lodging and an allowance. He learns that subjects are expected to lick the floor as they approach the king, and that the king sometimes gets rid of opponents in the court by coating the floor with poison. The Luggnaggians tell Gulliver about certain immortal people, children born with a red spot on their foreheads who are called Struldbrugs. Gulliver devises a whole system of what he would do if he were immortal, starting with the acquisition of riches and knowledge. Contrary to his fantasy however, he is told that after the age of 30, most Struldbrugs grow sad and dejected and by 80, they are incapable of affection and envious of those who are able to die. If 2 of the Struldbrugs marry, the marriage is dissolved when 1 reaches 80, because those who are condemned without any fault of their own to a perpetual continuance in the world should not have their misery doubled by the load of a wife. He meets some of these people and finds them to be unhappy and unpleasant, and he regrets ever wishing for their state. Gulliver is finally able to depart from Luggnagg after refusing employment there.
JAPAN & AMSTERDAM
He arrives safely in Japan. From there he gains passage on a Dutch ship by pretending to be from Holland and sets sail from Amsterdam to England, where he finds his family in good health.
THE COUNTRY OF THE HOUYHNHNMS
07 September 1710 – 05 December 1715
Gulliver stays home for five months, but he then leaves his pregnant wife to set sail again, this time as the captain of a ship called the Adventure. Many of his sailors die of illness, so he recruits more along the way. His crew members mutiny under the influence of these new sailors and become pirates. Gulliver is left on an unknown shore, after being confined to his cabin for several days. In the distance, he sees animals with long hair, goat-like beards and sharp claws that they use to climb trees. Gulliver decides that these animals are extremely ugly and sets forth to find settlers, but he encounters one of the animals on his way. Gulliver takes out his sword and hits the animal with the flat side of it. The animal roars loudly, and a herd of others like it attack Gulliver by attempting to defecate on him. He hides, but then he sees them hurrying away. He emerges from his hiding place to see that the beasts have been scared away by a horse. The horse observes Gulliver carefully, and then it neighs in a complicated cadence. Another horse joins the first and the two seem to be involved in a discussion. Gulliver tries to leave, but one of the horses calls him back. The horses appear to be so intelligent that Gulliver concludes that they are magicians who have transformed themselves into horses. He addresses them directly and asks to be taken to a house or village. The horses use the words Yahoo and Houyhnhnm that Gulliver tries to pronounce. Gulliver is led to a house and he takes out gifts, expecting to meet people. He finds instead that there are more horses in the house, sitting down and engaged in various activities. He thinks that the house belongs to a person of great importance, and he wonders why they should have horses for servants. A horse looks Gulliver over and says the word Yahoo. Gulliver is led out to the courtyard, where a few of the ugly creatures Gulliver has seen are tied up. Gulliver is lined up and compared with one of the creatures, and Gulliver finds that the creature does look quite human. The horses test Gulliver by offering him various foods: hay that he refuses and flesh that he finds repulsive but the Yahoo devours. The horses determine that he likes milk and give him large amounts of it to drink. Another horse comes to dine, and they all take great pleasure in teaching Gulliver to pronounce words in their language. They cannot determine what he might like to eat until Gulliver suggests that he could make bread from their oats. He is given a place to sleep with straw for the time being. Gulliver endeavours to learn the horses’ language, and they are impressed by his intellect and curiosity. After three months, he can answer most of their questions and tries to explain that he comes from across the sea but the horses or Houyhnhnms, do not believe that such a thing is possible. They think that Gulliver is some kind of Yahoo, though superior to the rest of his species. He asks them to stop using that word to refer to him, and they consent. Gulliver tries to explain that the Yahoos are the governing creatures where he comes from, and the Houyhnhnms ask how their horses are employed. Gulliver explains that they are used for travelling, racing, and drawing chariots, and the Houyhnhnms express disbelief that anything as weak as a Yahoo would dare to mount a horse that was so much stronger than it. Gulliver explains that the horses are trained from a young age to be tame and obedient. He describes the state of humanity in Europe and is asked to speak more specifically of his own country. Over the course of two years, Gulliver describes the state of affairs in Europe, speaking to his Houyhnhnm master about the English Revolution and the war with France. He is asked to explain the causes of war, and he does his best to provide reasons. He is also asked to speak of law and the justice system that he does in some detail, criticising lawyers severely in the process. The discussion then turns to other topics, such as money and the different kinds of food eaten in Europe. Gulliver explains the different occupations in which people are involved, including service professions such as medicine and construction. Gulliver develops such a love for the Houyhnhnms that he no longer desires to return to humankind. His master tells him that he has considered all of Gulliver’s claims about his home country and has come to the conclusion that Gulliver’s people are not so different from the Yahoos as they may at first have seemed. He describes all the flaws of the Yahoos, principally detailing their greed and selfishness. He admits that Gulliver’s humans have different systems of learning, law, government, and art but says that their natures are not different from those of the Yahoos. Gulliver wants to observe the similarities between Yahoos and humans for himself, so he asks to go among the Yahoos. He finds them to be very nimble from infancy but unable to learn anything. They are strong, cowardly, and malicious. The principle virtues of the Houyhnhnms are their friendship and benevolence. They are concerned more with the community than with their own personal advantages, even choosing their mates so as to promote the race as a whole. They breed industriousness, cleanliness, and civility in their young and exercise them for speed and strength. Gulliver’s master attends a Grand Assembly of Houyhnhnms, where the horses debate whether or not to extinguish the Yahoos from the face of the Earth. Gulliver’s master suggests that instead of killing them, they should, as the Europeans do with their horses, merely castrate them. Eventually, unable to breed, the Yahoos will die out, and in the meantime the Houyhnhnms can breed asses to take their place. Gulliver then describes further aspects of the Houyhnhnms’ society. They create excellent poetry, have a sound knowledge of medicinal herbs, build simple houses, and usually live about seventy or seventy-five years, dying of old age. They feel no sorrow about death, accepting it as a routine element of life. They have no writing system and no word to express anything evil. A room is made for Gulliver, and he furnishes it well. He also makes new clothes for himself and settles into life with the Houyhnhnms quite easily. He begins to think of his friends and family back home as Yahoos. However, he is called by his master and told that others have taken offence at his being kept in the house as a Houyhnhnm. The master has no choice but to ask Gulliver to leave. Gulliver is very upset to hear that he is to be banished. He builds a canoe with the help of a fellow-servant and departs sadly. Gulliver does not want to return to Europe, and so he begins to search for an island where he can live as he likes. He finds land and discovers natives there. He is struck by an arrow and tries to escape the natives’ darts by paddling out to sea. He sees a sail in the distance and thinks of going toward it, but then decides he would rather live with the barbarians than the European Yahoos, so he hides from the ship. The seamen, including Don Pedro de Mendez, discover him after landing near his hiding place. They question him, laughing at his strange horse-like manner of speaking, and cannot understand his desire to escape from their ship. Don Pedro treats Gulliver hospitably, offering him food, drink, and clothes, but Gulliver can think of him only as a Yahoo and is thus repulsed by him. Gulliver is forced to travel back to England, where he returns to his family that has been convinced that he is dead. He is filled with disgust and contempt for them. For a year he cannot stand to be near his wife and children, and he buys two horses and converses with them for 4 hours each day. Gulliver concludes his narrative by acknowledging that the law requires him to report his findings to the government but that he can see no military advantage in attacking any of the locations he discovered. Moreover, he particularly wishes to protect the Houyhnhnms.
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